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30 questions that made me quit my job and start traveling

Written by 3 December 2013 38 Comments


Every time I step into a plane, there’s a part of me that hesitates at the meaning of an upcoming adventure. Was it the right decision to buy an expensive plane ticket again, am I going to be safe, is this guy really worth it?

I’m a grateful female solo traveler who quit her job in order to travel. Traveling has been my greatest accomplishment and a life changing experience. The fresh air, four seasons, short distances and my Finnish passport are now high on my scale of things to appreciate.

When it comes to traveling, fear is often your biggest enemy. It hides behind an endless array of excuses: It’s just never the right time, you never have enough money, you will never be ready, and you will always miss family and loved ones.


To simplify, the only limitation to travel is you.

While I normally beat the drum in favor of a balanced lifestyle, traveling kicks more ass than Rambo, Terminator and Chuck Norris combined. Yes, it takes great effort, lots of desire, high levels of commitment and sometimes countless hours of cleaning toilets. But that savage rush of energy that floods into your veins when you sit on a plane to an unknown destination is unbeatable.

Have you ever got a chance so big that it gave you goosebumps and made you scream from the top of your lungs? When a great opportunity comes along, it does it with a great amount of energy and before you know it there ain’t no mountain high enough.


Your life is that great opportunity.

In order to live life to the fullest, you don’t necessarily need to buy a fancy-pants apartment nor get married. You need to jump into the unknown, conquer your fears and do whatever makes you smile. Sometimes traveling includes buckets of hesitations, sunburns and tears. Sometimes it’s full of changes and lessons learned. None of us is a stranger to taking new and sometimes scary steps in life. They will often present themselves when you least expect them. The least expected thing in my life was to fall in love. Fall in love with traveling. Answering these 30 questions gave me the courage to quit my day job and start the journey of a lifetime.

1. If not now, then when?

2. What would you do if nobody would judge you?

3. Have you done something worth remembering lately?

4. Time or money?

5. What is the one thing you are proud of  but would never put on your resume?

6. In twenty years from now, what do you want to remember?

7. If you had to move to a country besides the one you currently live in, where would you move and why?

8. What is something that you have always wanted to do since you were a kid?

9. When did you first realize life is short?

10. What memory from the past makes you smile the most?

11. Are you proud of what you are doing or what have you done?

12. In one year from today, how do you want to be different?

13. Are you doing what you believe in or settling for what you are doing?

14. What do you need to do to make it happen?

15. What do you absolutely love in life?

16. When was the last time you noticed the sound of your own breath?

17. Has your greatest fear ever come true?

18. What is success for you?

19. What makes you feel great about yourself?

20. What do you admire most in the world?

21. If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don’t like doing?

22. When was the last time you started something new?

23. In order of importance, how would you rank happiness, money, love, health, fame?

24. What was the thing that didn’t last forever, but was still worth a while?

25. What has fear or failure stopped you from doing?

26. In one word, how would you spend the last month of your life?

27. What do you want to be known for?

28. What are you thankful for?

29. What do you need to let go of?

30. If you haven’t achieved it yet, what do you have to lose?


rita lahtinenGoofy Rita packed her vans into a backpack first time at the age of eighteen. A round-the-world trip gave a forever lasting spark to always look for new adventures to this talkative vegan girl. She’s always up for new challenges, whether somebody is throwing her out off a plane or giving her a surfboard. Her destinations are often situated somewhere near wavy beaches or other bohemian environments. For the past few years Rita has been on the road non-stop, and lived shortly in way too many places for one person to remember. On a paper she is located in Copenhagen, but you never know where she actually is.

Hit her up at gigglyrita@gmail.com.

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  • sophie said:

    Damn you Rita… Just as I’m 6 months into a new job…. :)

  • Marte said:

    Lovely article Rita! I completely agree with you :)

  • Hayley Upton said:

    What an incredible post! Those are questions that all of those that are fearful of traveling should ask themselves. Thanks for encouraging and offering a little nudge for all of us to travel and embrace our fears. Great pictures!


  • Anton said:

    Hi Rita, thank you for the nice article! There is a quote from the movie 180° South that I really love and that I would like to share with you: “The best journeys answer questions that, in the beginning, you didn’t even think to ask.” ;)

  • Paola said:

    Good points Rita! I completely agree with you. I tryed to give an answer to these kind of questions, but I always get stuck in question n°4..Of Course I will say TIME, but I can’t find an alternative way to live and to go around without money. I travel a lot (not enough!) thanks to my job, but since I’m not happy with it I really would like to quit and start travel “my way”! I would say that for me the most difficult thing is to find a flexible job/money to keep on tripping and “survive”. Rita tell us more about your experience!
    Too many problems? so again..the only limitation to travel is..me?


  • ace said:

    hey im interested in seeing the world
    any suggestions on how to fund it?

  • Tryary said:

    It’s through these experiences and leaps of faith that we grow as people. There is a definite trend towards people trying to new experiences and it’s always inspiring to see people like you Rita.

  • Teri said:

    Those are the questions that have made me avoid traditional jobs thus far. I do a lot of independent contractor work – which I love. I don’t look forward to one day have to join the work force full throttle. We will see what happens. Have fun!

  • Anja said:

    Love the article Rita.

    I’ve seen you’ve got a blog. Would love to read it but it says I need permission. Is it just for personal friends?

  • Whitney said:

    All I want to do is travel, but I have no money. I know not having enough money shouldn’t be a deterrent, but can you write about how you did this. What’s the minimum amount of money you need to get started? Did you keep your apartment/house? How do fund this new lifestyle? I seriously want to know. I have already decided traveling is what I want to do,

  • Theodora said:

    Hey Rita! I had to read this post as I did just the same thing about 2 years ago. No I didn’t have your list of q’s but I was sure happy to answer them today, 1½ year after my trip started. I definetly haven’t forgotten how I was thinking for many many years and how stuck I felt. It was great answering your questions today as I think completly different. I started writing my blog for this big trip of mine and the trip and all included changed my life. Today I live in a different country, trying to learn a language I didn’t knew. It’s crazy and I love it!

    Good luck with all the roads you will take. You don’t need it because it’s too easy, as the Aussies say for everything and it’s true.
    So where are you now? :)


  • careeen said:

    Dang it! This post made me reject a job offer and book a flight instead. And I am oh so nervous right now! If you need any articles from Martinique/St. Lucia/Dominica, holla at me.

  • Steven said:

    A brilliant post.
    The world is everyone’s oyster, and a love of seafood is not a requirement.


  • Quyen said:

    After reading through the questions, you have definitely got me thinking!! Great post!

  • Cathy said:

    God, giving me some major wanderlust!! I want to go so badly but fear is definitely holding me back…a great post with plenty of things for me to contemplate :\

    Cathy x

  • hitesh said:

    so true and self searching!

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  • Roselle said:

    Hi, it amazes me whenever I read articles about people who quit their job and started traveling. You guys are so inspiring to those who want to do the same. Have a safe trip on the road! :)

  • Rita said:

    Thank you everyone for the lovely comments, they really made my day. I’m a little late with replying, but better late than never :)
    Anton, you are definitely right, I really had no idea what was going to happen when I first left on my journey. Thanks for sharing, the quote is really lovely and very true!
    Paola, Ace, Whitney, I have been thinking about writing a post about how to fund travels, maybe I should do that in the near future! And yes Paola, I will stick to my point, I think that the only limitation to travel is yourself.
    Careen, thats awesome, congrats for a very brave move!! Travel safe and enjoy every moment of your journey!!

  • Rita said:

    And Theodora, I’m struggling with learning a new language as well! good luck with the learning process, it can be hard at first, or even after months. Moving to another country is a very hardcore level of traveling, I wish you all the best on your journey!

  • Lisa said:

    This was great to read. I am, admittedly, very scared to leave my “stable and secure” job/life to embark on a journey to unfamiliar places, but I have been thinking about doing this for quite a while now. I have always loved traveling and engaging in interesting conversations with people I’ve met along the way. It brings me unexplainable happiness. Growing up in the U.S. and constantly being fed the message that career is everything, I have lost the confidence of pursuing my own interests. Hopefully I can muster up the courage to be unconventional soon and travel the world! Your site is definitely helping :). Thank you!

  • Priyank said:

    Wonderful article :)

    i just ask one question to myself when i think about leaving my job and travelling “where would all the money for travelling come from if i quit my job ? :D

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  • Laura said:

    Thanks for this great input :)

    I really do believe we are out own worst enemy. I like your questions about what you would do if nobody judge you. It is a tricky one because we think that everybody else care about what we are doing all the time. But they really dont. People think more about what they are doing themselves and don’t have too much time judging others.

    So I think we should all just start doing what we really want to do, and then just stop worrying about what everybody else are thinking. Because they may think something, but then they have forgotten it after a little while and it dosent matter to anyone anymore!

    Glad that you are living life! I just started the travel of my life as well :)

  • Rita said:

    @Lisa, what helped me, was to surround myself around people that had traveled, were free-spirited and more open minded when it comes to building a career. I put pictures of my favorite destinations to everywhere in my apartment; in the bathroom, bedroom and in the kitchen. I just surrounded myself with my dreams and everyday the need to travel grew more and more, until it became unbearable.
    Sometimes you just have to trust the system and let go of your fears, travel to the unknown. Hopefully you will get the courage to travel in the future, hit me up at rita@travelettes.net if you do, I want to know how your journey is going.
    All the best xx

  • Rita said:

    @Laura I am very happy that you have started to live your life, it feels awesome, doesn’t it.
    I battled with perfectionism for years and wanted to do it all. After I realized that I don’t have to do everything, at least in one day, life just became so much more enjoyable. You can also write me about your adventures, rita@travelettes.net, I want to hear where are you heading next.
    Safe travels and courage to your journey.

  • The Southern Adventurer said:

    This was a great post. It really makes a person think. I love traveling, I always have a destination I want to go. I have a job thats not that great and I hope I can quit one day so I can pursue traveling like you.

    -The Southern Adventurer

  • Di said:


    I really loved your article, it’s inspiring.
    I have been thinking about to take a gap year to start travelling the world, but I’m always too scared to do that and I can’t understand why: I love to travel and to know different cultures, I have the money that I saved for travel and I’m single and have no kids.
    I’m going to ask me your 30 questiones to see if I’m brave enough to live the life of my dreams.
    Thanks for your motivation :-)

  • 30 domande che mi hanno fatto lasciare il lavoro e cambiare vita - Berlino Cacio e Pepe said:

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  • Nikki said:

    I’ve been to 7 country’s this year…. I loved your post. I got this. Not in love with one person but the world and traveling. Expanding my mind and learning about other cultures. I just came back from india, amazing!! My 2nd time. This time just for travel. After January 2015 I will have gotten rid of most of my material things put what’s left in storage and travel the world till July or August 2015. I’m so excited. 😆

  • The Travelling 3o said:

    Great post! My inspiration!


  • Michelle said:

    I have travelled a lot in the past, but I am wondering how, if you have no job and no means of income, you’d suggest paying for flights, accomodation etc….I am intrigued as to how I could quit my job and afford to live?! :0) x

  • Bunmi said:

    For over a decade I’ve wanted to live abroad (I was raised in two countries so I’ve always had a global interest). My recent travels have inspired me to do just that. After returning, I gave my boss 2 months notice and I’m working on an international assignment. It’s frightening and exhilarating all at the same time! I feel like I’m letting my true self out.

  • Rita said:

    Thank you all for positive comments, I feel honored if there’s anyone that this post has inspired to travel. @Michelle, I’m planning to write a post on how to afford traveling beginning of next year, hopefully that will help out out. All the best and safe travels!

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  • rafael said:

    the first question was enough for me.

  • John said:

    Great post, just love to travel and see other customs and cultures.

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